Counting Ku

Touching on games, life, and the intersection between

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The Story Begins—Calwyn Feralyth

Posted by countingku on May 14, 2010

@DMSamuel is rebooting his Ruboryn campaign, and I am one of the lucky few to be involved. I played a happy-go-lucky half-elven bard named Calwyn Feralyth in the original campaign. Sam set this reboot in the past, and while I still wanted to play a Valor Bard… I did not want to play the same Valor Bard.

I’ve never played a human in Dungeons and Dragons, with so many options playing the same race I am seemed boring. This reboot seemed to be a perfect time to finally try a human. I wanted something darker, with some real moral conflict. I found the Arcane Mercenary background, and it seemed a perfect conflict for a good aligned character. So a human ancestor of the original Calwyn was born. You can find his iPlay4e sheet here and his background behind the cut. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Campaign Journals, Dungeons & Dragons, Games, Ruboryn | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Unaligned Maligned?

Posted by countingku on April 11, 2010

Thoughts on alignment based on the blog post,
Where have all the cowboys gone? Pt. 1

My twitter pal, @ThadeousC, wrote an interesting analysis of alignment that you can read at the link above. It is a good read, and was going to take more room to respond to than a regular comment, so I brought it here.

Unaligned folks certainly include the self-interested sorts that Thadeous mentioned in his post. However, it is limiting to think that is all that Unaligned means. There is space in this alignment for more than just the mercenary in it for the money.

People who pursue agendas are often unaligned. They aren’t self-interested, in fact they often don’t think of themselves at all. They believe in something, and will do what is needed to achieve their goals. They will save a village or the world, bust a ring of slavers, or crush a drug cartel if they stand in the way of their beliefs. Inversely, innocent people may get hurt, authorities may be defied, artifacts might be stolen, but they do it because the alternative is worse.

Consider The Operative from Serenity. Yes, he is portrayed as a villain in the movie, however, in terms of alignment I would say that he is Unaligned. He believed in the good of the Alliance, and was willing to do terrible things to protect it. He did not do these things for enjoyment or personal gain. He was a true believer.

Malcolm Reynolds is considered a hero in Serenity, but he is Unaligned as well. On the surface, he seems to be self-interested and out for the money. When you look deeper, you see that his hatred of the Alliance and flaunting of their authority has purpose, he believes in the power of individuality and the right of a person to choose his own path. He is a true believer, as well.

I see them both as paladins of a sort, neither lawful or good, but men dedicated to a purpose. I don’t really have a problem with the varied alignment of the 4th Edition Paladin. I think it is more realistic, and while that may not be what we expect in a fantasy world, it makes a better story.

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Games | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Introducing Septimus, Avenger of Scorpus

Posted by countingku on April 6, 2010

Who is the man who can Oath your ass like no one can? Septimus! Can ya dig it?

Septimus, Eladrin Avenger of Scorpus

I play Septimus in @dwolf63‘s Maptools game each Monday.

He is an Avenger of Scorpus, the Lord of Secrets and Shadows. A  maligned and misunderstood deity, most worshipers of Scorpus keep their faith secret and their actions shadowed. Avengers of Scorpus are the exception. They stride forth, to keep the secrets locked in shadow that would tear the world asunder, to punish those that would release them, and to exert Scorpus’ will upon the world of Cordeia.

If you want a character portrait this cool, contact @d20plusmodifier and tell him I sent you.

Posted in Campaign Journals, Dungeons & Dragons, Games, Worldheart Campaign | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Use Your Head: Don’t be a Dick (DM)!

Posted by countingku on March 25, 2010

Hello again, friends. Been a while, eh? *awkward silence*

Okay, enough of that. I saw something last night on Twitter that disturbed me as a fan of D&D. @4eDnD sent out a tweet that his DM performed a coup de grace on another player in his party during a D&D Encounters session and then added gloating and douchebaggery to his offenses. You can read the story here.

I am not opposed to a coup de grace in the proper setting. D&D Encounters is not that setting. Encounters is designed so that new players can walk in off the street with nothing, and have a prepared character handed to them. It takes minimal investment to get involved. This is a fantastic thing for the growth of the game. The more people playing D&D the better support we all get for the enjoyment of the game.

This is why the DMs are so important, even more so in an introductory setting like Encounters. A good DM is going to draw players in, challenge them, and make sure everyone has a good time. Inversely, a truly awful DM can drive many people away from the game and actually hurt the hobby as a whole. This is something that we who enjoy D&D cannot allow.

So, the next time you see something that really bothers you… point them at “Your Friend Wil” and tell them: Don’t be a dick!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Games | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Use Your Head: Weekend in the Realms

Posted by countingku on November 15, 2009

When people think of Living Forgotten Realms, they think combat. It is a fairly accurate stereotype. While authors are getting better at including more story in their work, the type of gaming tends to preclude a deep, overarching campaign storyline. However, there are opportunities to do something beyond beating things into submission. I would like to give two examples, from my experiences at Weekend in the Realms.

WEEK1-4 The Icy Queen’s Crossing

The group had fought their way into the final chamber, dealing with the demon summoning Creel, and noticing the dead wintery fey along the way. When we reached the bottom of the slide and saw the Icy Queen struggling with the demonic force, we decided to help her. My character was a Warforged Warden, so I didn’t have any obvious ways to help the parlay…  or did I? Looking at my powers, I decided to use my daily power creatively. We had a surprise round, so I used my daily to transform. Once in the Form of Winter’s Herald, I proclaimed to the fey that I served Winter and would like to assist the queen. I then requested to make a Nature check to attempt to show them I was a servant of Winter. The DM was surprised, but went with the flow. In the end, we rescued the queen and didn’t have to fight anyone but the feral dragon to do so.

WATE1-2 Dark Secrets of Downshadow

Our group had found a secret stairwell and the sneaks (a gnome warlock and a halfling rogue) went down the stairs to do some recon. They found two dwarves whom they evaded, and a key that they pilfered. The warlock signaled the rest of us at the top of the stairs to silently start down the stairs. I aced my Stealth roll, the next player aced their Stealth roll, the final player rolled an 11 (looks like trouble). The dwarves are alerted and the sneaks need to make a Stealth check to hide. The rogue rolls a 1, and is discovered by the dwarves. I hear this and I race down the stairs. When I reach the bottom of the stairs, I point at our sneaks and yell at them for disobeying my orders and running ahead of the group. I roll a 24 on my Bluff check(it is good to be a bard), totally pulling off the righteous indignation. I turned to the confused looking dwarves and apologized to them for my overly exuberant companions and showed them a token that I suspected would get me past them. The dwarves were convinced by my performance (ACTING!), and were very congenial as they sent us on our way.

At that point, the DM stopped the game and told me that I had scared the crap out of him. He had no idea what I was doing when I ran down the stairs and was about to tell us to roll for initiative. The players he usually DMs for believe in what I like to call “percussive diplomacy”, or as it is better known, beating the crap out of whatever was in the way. I apologized for startling him, and he waved me off saying how much he enjoyed the interaction.

Combat is easy, trying to avoid combat can be fun and entertaining for you and your whole table. Try it the next time you sit down at the gaming table.

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Games, Living Forgotten Realms, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Waiting for Diablo: Torchlight Bright

Posted by countingku on November 5, 2009

Diablo. One word. But for millions of gamers, one word says all that needs to be said. Diablo is a classic series, and one that every Action CRPG strives to match. Diablo III is currently in production by Blizzard, and we *may* see it in 2010 (if we’re very lucky). What is a Diablo fan to do while waiting? Obviously, Diablo 2 is still there to give us joy. Admittedly, while the gameplay is still solid, the graphics are really beginning to show their age.

Looking to satisfy the Diablo geeks in the universe, Runic Games has released Torchlight. How would I describe Torchlight in a sentence? Diablo meets WoW, falls in love, then trains the hunter pets to use jewelery, spells, and run to the corner store.

That’s right, kids. You all hate that “Your inventory is full” message. Well, why should you have to port to the store, when Snookums or Petey can run there and bring you back the money while you keep killing evil? It is empowering.

As soon as the game loads, the music flows over you. It is not overly ornate, it pulls you in and reminds of the sounds of Diablo past. It is equally suitable for running around the town of Torchlight or mowing down the varied hordes.

The gameplay is pure Diablo, everyone has Area of Effect abilities, and the game makes sure you put them to use by sending waves of ravening evildoers to swarm over you. The classes all manage to feel powerful, but retain their own style. Though, if you want to mix and match, the diverse skill trees make it so that the 3 classes in the game seem like many more.

The interface is a nice mixture of WoW and Diablo, you can use abilities by binding to the mouse keys or using the number keys that correspond to your ability bar. One key difference is that clicking on the skill bar brings up a Diablo style skill setting window, which will be a rude awakening to a WoW-familiar player trying to get off a quick button click.

The town has the vendors you would expect, but that is not all. There is a transmuter (think Horadric Cube), an enchanter (think making your awesome gear levels upon levels more awesome, or removing all the enchantments, or doing nothing at all), and an item salvager and gem salvager (destroys either the item or the gem and leaves the other).

I have only two minor quibbles with this game. There is a lack of multiplayer. This is understandable, considering the truncated production time frame, but it would be really nice to play with some pals online (though the upcoming free to play Torchlight MMO should resolve this issue). Second, there is no way to respec your skill trees. Maybe WoW has spoiled me, but I like being able to play with my build and tweak things.

Overall, this is an outstanding game that has sucked away hours of my free time, and I feel like the best is still to come. With its $19.99 price tag, Torchlight is a game that will end up costing pennies per hour of play time. That kind of value is hard to deny. What are you still reading for? Go get yourself a copy of Torchlight and ease those Diablo III waiting pains.

Posted in Diablo, Games, PC, Review, Torchlight, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Welcome to the show!

Posted by countingku on October 16, 2009

Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.

I am a lapsed writer, and more and more have been feeling an urge to work at my writing again. They tell me these things happen when you start to get older.

Writing is work. If I am going to be working at writing again, I want to focus on a topic I will enjoy. Wish me luck in this task, and I hope you will enjoy reading this blog as much as I plan on enjoying writing it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »